So in attempt to meet other moms and 2 ½ year olds, we’ve been attending many of the free mom/child activities in our neighborhood. One program I think I’ve mentioned is the One O’clock Center, which are the free playgroups weekdays that go from 1-3pm. Another is the library story time at 11am on Thursdays. I think it’s a good idea especially before nursery school starts to have as many child interactions as possible. So when the librarian announced that in lieu of regular story time next week, there would be a special craft / dress up party, I was a little disappointed. Sponsored by Disney, kiddos are encouraged to dress up like their favorite “princess, prince or other Disney character.”
Now I should mention that up until this point, I have really felt as though consumerism is much more prevalent in the U.S. than here. And I don’t mean that as a bad thing, more of an observation. In the U.S., you can get whatever you want, whenever you want, for a great price. There are 100 cereal boxes in the cereal aisle. Big box stores have just about anything a person could need or want; total one-stop shopping. U.S. consumers have demanded good, reliable products at low prices and companies have delivered; and this is, in general, good for economies.
It has been a bit more difficult to find things here. I couldn’t find office supplies for weeks, then realized they were in book stores. Just about everything else is in little boutique stores. I’ve found that for many items you have to pay a lot to get just half the quality you may get at home; you have to pay even more to get a superior product. My clock radio/CD player was about $50 USD here and would have been about $13 USD back home.
So, anyway, back to my story. Until very recently, my daughter hasn’t even been interested in princess; however, after we moved, she found our DVD collection, picked out “Beauty and the Beast” and now watches it almost every day. So while I’m trying not to encourage girl/boy stereotypes in play, dress up, etc., I desperately want that interacting time for her, so we RSVP “yes” to the library party.
My next step was finding something for her to wear. There is no Target or Wal-Mart equivalent here, but I managed to find the Disney Store in the city centre. And to my surprise, the Belle dress they had was the first item I’ve found actually less expensive in London than at home. I called. It was the last one. The clerk informed me she could hold it for me. For a brief moment I felt like a crazy American mom and decided we must jump on the Tube, go to Central London and pick it up that day. (Actually, I don’t think American moms have the market cornered on crazy. I think in attempt to create enjoyment for our children, crazy transcends the globe. I’m sure I’ll see it here. Some day. I bet.)
Anyway, the end result was one very happy little girl, one beautiful yellow princess dress, and a dual purpose dress up / Halloween costume for dear daughter. Now do they celebrate Halloween in the U.K.?